Guest Column - April 2011
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Sports Surfaces

Selecting Sports Surfaces for Your Facility

By Ken Chmura and Joe Corbet

5. Do Your Homework

Contact manufacturers and ask to see similar installations of a floor product in comparable sports facilities. At a minimum, view at least two installations that are three to five years old so that you can see how it will perform over time. Don't make the mistake of selecting flooring based on a two-inch sample. Go see it in action! Select products with a history of success used for your particular needs. Questions you should consider asking when visiting an installation include:

  • How does the product look versus submitted samples after regular use?
  • Does it portray the image you were looking for on your project?
  • How does it react to sports play, slip slide effect, ball bounce, etc.?
  • How does this particular facility maintain it? Are chemicals or equipment necessary?
  • How well does it handle multipurpose events? What type tables and chairs are you using?
  • What game lines did they select?

It is imperative that you conduct a thorough investigation, which will save you research time for the other details of your project. This is your opportunity to see what to expect from your floor and how it will perform. Never select a floor product that is new and untested.

6. What Not to Compromise

Select a manufacturer that has many quality references and carries a good name in the industry. If you select a wood flooring substitute, make sure to view large pieces to ensure that the product selected actually looks like wood. Good vinyl floors with a wood look are made by using high-definition quality film. Also, select a product that uses a pure vinyl wear layer and ask manufacturers to provide you with a warranty on pattern wear-out, and not just manufacturing defects. You should choose a product with baked-in urethane treatment that is UV cured to avoid the need of any waxes for the life of the product, which will save you money in the long run. Another consideration is to look for a manufacturer with experience in making foam backing for sports and multipurpose recreation. The best option is a dual durameter closed cell foam with fiberglass interlayer that provides energy return for sports and indention resistance to tables and chairs. Finally and most importantly, beware of the pretenders! If something sounds too good to be true, it usually means it is.


Ken Chmura is Gerflor USA general manager, and Joe Corbet is Gerflor Sports Segment manager. For more information, visit